Equifax Acquires APPRO Systems

Equifax has agreed to acquire APPRO Systems, a provider of automated credit risk management and financial technologies, for $92 million. APPRO designs and develops industry-leading technologies for consumer, commercial and retail banking lending operations. The privately held company generated more than $20 million in annual revenue last year and has more than doubled its revenue over the past two years. Equifax Inc. is a global leader in turning information into intelligence. APPRO Systems, Inc. is one of the lending industry’s leading providers of comprehensive, automated credit risk management and financial technologies for the Internet and traditional lending environments.

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New Affluent Segment Use Reward Cards

A new study on today’s young and newly affluent consumers has found that such consumers clip coupons more than other Americans, report embarrassment in being identified with wealth and status, and are more concerned about passing along honesty and integrity to their children than money or status. The VISA research on individuals aged 35-54 whose household income is at least $125,000 also found that two-thirds of “New Affluent” consumers surveyed say they regularly shop at club discount or warehouse stores. This compares to less than half of the general population sample doing the same. Almost four-in-five of “New Affluents” surveyed say they have a payment card that enables them to earn rewards and enjoy perks. This is significantly higher than the general population (38%). Sixty-five percent of “New Affluent” consumers surveyed say they like to do everything they can to maximize rewards on their payment cards.

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ACE Cash Express Names a New CMO

Dallas-based ACE Cash Express has named Allen Klose, former SVP/ General Marketing Manager at Blockbuster Entertainment, as as chief marketing officer. ACE Cash Express, Inc. is a leading retailer of financial services, including check cashing, short-term consumer loans and bill payment services, and the largest owner, operator and franchisor of check cashing stores in the United States.

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DEC 04

Credit card outstandings hit a record GBP 58.0 billion during December, about a 12% gain over one-year ago. Total net lending to consumers for December hit GBP 183.6 billion, an increase of GBP 600 million over November. Overall, consumer credit grew by GBP 1.5 billion or 0.8% in December, seasonally adjusted, 200 million stronger than the
increase in November. The three-month growth rate fell to 10.1% from 10.4% in November but the twelve-month growth rate rose to 12.1% from 11.7% in November. Gross advances were GBP 18.1 billion, GBP 0.5 billion
weaker than the average in the three months to November. The Bank of England continues to maintain its benchmark interest rate at 4.75%.

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Global Credit Card Profits Rise 23% in 2004

Global credit card profits among the top issuers soared by more than 23% last year. Citigroup, the largest issuer, grew its profits by nearly 31% to $4.7 billion. The top seven issuers posted after-tax profits of $17.18 billion last year, compared to $13.96 billion in 2003.

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GLOBAL PROFITS HISTORICAL
2002 2003 2004 Y/Y CHNG
Citigroup $3.08b $3.59b $4.70b +30.9%
American Express $2.14b $2.43b $2.85b +17.3%
MBNA $1.77b $2.34b $2.68b +14.5%
JPM Chase $1.83b $1.84b $1.98b + 7.6%
HSBC $1.56b $1.67b $1.84b +10.2%
Bank of America $0.62b $0.95b $1.59b +67.4%
Capital One $0.90b $1.14b $1.54b +35.1%
TOTAL $11.90b $13.96b $17.18b +23.1%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: /images/g/graphs2/globalprofits0208.jpg

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PayPal Names a New CTO from VISA’s Inovant

PayPal has named Scott Thompson, formerly of VISA’s Inovant, as SVP/CTO. Thompson, who brings more than 20 years of experience to the position, will report to PayPal President Jeff Jordan and eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY) Chief Operating Officer Maynard Webb. Thompson will oversee information technology, product development and architecture for PayPal, which transacted more than $18 billion in total payment volume and processed about 340 million payments in 2004. PayPal, an eBay company, enables any individual or business with an email address to send and receive payments online securely, easily and quickly.

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British Card Debt Rises 12% in November

Credit card outstandings hit a record GBP 58.0 billion during December, about a 12% gain over one-year ago. Total net lending to consumers for December hit GBP 183.6 billion, an increase of GBP 600 million over November. Overall, consumer credit grew by GBP 1.5 billion or 0.8% in December, seasonally adjusted, 200 million stronger than the increase in November. The three-month growth rate fell to 10.1% from 10.4% in November but the twelve-month growth rate rose to 12.1% from 11.7% in November. Gross advances were GBP 18.1 billion, GBP 0.5 billion weaker than the average in the three months to November. The Bank of England continues to maintain its benchmark interest rate at 4.75%.

U.K. CREDIT CARD OUTSTANDINGS
(GBP Billions)
Jan 04: 52.1
Feb 04: 52.7
Mar 04: 53.7
Apr 04: 54.1
May 04: 54.2
Jun 04: 55.0
Jul 04: 55.8
Aug 04: 56.4
Sep 04: 56.5
Oct 04: 57.1
Nov 04: 57.6
Dec 04: 58.0
SOURCE: Bank of England

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MasterCard’s Global GDV Nears $1.5 Trillion

For the first time, MasterCard International has topped $400 billion in gross dollar volume and four billion purchase transactions in a single quarter. The world’s second largest payment card network, by GDV, also neared the $1.5 trillion gross volume and 15 billion purchase transactions milestones for a full-year. MasterCard posted $401.2 billion in worldwide gross dollar volume in 4Q/04, a 12.5% increase over 4Q/03. Purchase transactions for the fourth quarter hit 4.034 billion compared to 3.597 billion one-year ago. For the full year of 2004, MasterCard GDV was $1.455 trillion, a 10.6% gain over 2003. Purchase transactions for the year totaled 14.715 billion compared to 13.202 billion for the prior year. Globally, MasterCard has 679.5 million cards-in-force linked to 576.0 million accounts. The number of acceptance locations worldwide at year-end 2004 was 24.6 million compared to 21.9 million one-year ago. For complete details on MasterCard’s fourth quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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Revolving Credit Tops $790 Billion in December

Revolving consumer credit edged up modestly by $900 million during December at an annual growth rate of 1.4%. According to the Federal Reserve, Americans owed $790.5 billion in revolving credit at the end of December, compared to $789.6 billion for November. One-year ago revolving credit stood at approximately $759 billion. Bank credit card debt (excluding store and gas credit cards) at the end of the fourth quarter was $687 billion, or roughly 87% of total revolving credit, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). At the end of December, Americans were $2103.7 billion in debt, excluding home mortgages.

REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL ($billions)
Dec 04 Nov 04 Oct 04 Sep 04 Jun 04 Mar 04 Dec 03
GRWTH: 1.4% 0.8 6.0 -1.9 10.4 -1.9 5.4
$OWED: $790.5 789.6 789.0 785.1 765.2 768.9 758.7
Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 2/07/05;
For complete historical data visit CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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TNB Card Services Outstandings Up 200% in 04

Dallas-based TNB Card Services reported it now has more than 450 credit union clients nationwide. At the end of 2004, TNB had approximately $80 million in outstanding balances in its agent issuing portfolio, an almost 200% increase over 2004. The average purchased portfolio size last year was 22% larger than the average for 2003, indicating that increasingly larger credit unions are among the portfolio sellers. TNB Card Services manages more than 1.6 million cards.

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Paymentech Inks the Whataburger Contract

Whataburger has awarded a multi-year processing contract to Dallas-based Paymentech for its 630+ owned and franchised locations. Paymentech won the contract in part because of the reliability of its dial-up network, which is wholly owned and operated by Paymentech, as well as its advanced technology offerings and web-based reporting tools. Whataburger is based in Corpus Christi, Texas and operates more than 630 locations in 10 states.Paymentech, L.P. processes more payment transactions than any other company in North America – and more than half of all Internet transactions – for retailers accepting U.S. and international payments via traditional point of sale, Internet, catalog and recurring payments.

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Q Comm Names a Business Development Executive

UT-based Q Comm International has named Charles Callis. formerly with ClearOne Communications, as VP/Business Development. Mr. Callis brings over seventeen years of executive-level technology sales and marketing experience and a long history of building industry alliances and value-added channel networks both domestically and internationally. Most recently Callis was Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Marketing for ClearOne Communications where he built a global partner network of distributors and value-added resellers. Q Comm International is a prepaid transaction processor that electronically distributes prepaid products from service providers to the point of sale.

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